Event Banner

Appellate court: Hobby Lobby must pay $220,000 for barring transgender employee from women’s bathroom




An Illinois court has ruled that Hobby Lobby must pay $220,000 to a transgender employee who had filed a complaint against the retailer for barring the employee from using the women’s restroom and instead providing a unisex bathroom as an accommodation.


Quick Facts



The fine was originally imposed by the Illinois Human Rights Commission after Meggan Sommerville claimed that Hobby Lobby violated an Illinois anti-discrimination law. Hobby Lobby appealed and the court battle has been ongoing. Last week, the Illinois Second District Appellate Court unanimously ruled in favor of the Commission and Sommerville.


“Hobby Lobby’s conduct … falls squarely within the definition of unlawful discrimination under the Act, as it treats Sommerville differently from all other women who work or shop at its store, solely on the basis that her gender identity is not ‘traditionally associated with’ her ‘designated sex at birth,’” the court said.


The court added,


“Hobby Lobby’s provision of a unisex bathroom available to all employees and customers cannot cure its unequal treatment of Sommerville with respect to the women’s bathroom. If every employee and customer except Sommerville may use either the unisex bathroom or the bathroom corresponding to their sex, but Sommerville’s choices are limited to the unisex bathroom or a bathroom that does not correspond to her sex, Hobby Lobby is still discriminating unlawfully.”

“Given the interrelationship between ‘sex’ and gender identity in Illinois law, the record establishes that Sommerville’s sex is unquestionably female,” the court ruled.


Hobby Lobby argued that it was protecting women by barring Sommerville from a private women’s space, but the court disagreed, “The only reason that Sommerville is barred from using the women’s bathroom is that she is a transgender woman, unlike the other women (at least, as far as Hobby Lobby knows).”



There are two questions to ask regarding this case. First the obvious: When did transgender rights become elevated above other people’s rights? Second, when did the right to bathroom choice become the most sacred right? Why is an employee’s desired bathroom choice more important than a private and Christian company’s wishes?


Sommerville is an employee of Hobby Lobby, not the other way around. Hobby Lobby is a Christian company that believes one cannot change their sex. If Sommerville had a problem with that and felt “unsafe,” there are other places to work.


And what about the rights of women who do not want to have a transgender person using the same restroom, especially given the findings of a major study that 80 percent of biological men who identify as women are sexually attracted to women?


In the court’s ruling, Sommerville had argued that “Hobby Lobby’s bathroom ban gave Sommerville recurrent nightmares about bathrooms, being approached by men, and being physically assaulted and laughed at by them.” Whether biological women might feel that same way about encountering Sommerville in the women’s bathroom was never addressed in Sommerville’s complaint against Hobby Lobby.


The company was concerned about how other women might feel so it had provided at their own cost a separate, private bathroom as an accommodation for Sommerville and other transgenders, much as other businesses have done with standalone handicapped bathrooms or family bathrooms. That should have given Sommerville the feeling of safety and privacy desired, but it wasn’t enough. Why?


The truth is that the transgender movement doesn’t want to “live and let live.” Mere acceptance is not enough. They are pushing a larger agenda to force society to affirm a delusion and attack traditional values, and they don’t care if it makes biological women feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Much of society is going along with their demand so they won’t be slandered, sued, or otherwise attacked like Hobby Lobby, and now even the courts are affirming it using the weight of law and punishment — proving that even the most learned amongst us are not immune to the virus of mass hysteria.